Crocheting…how terribly old-fashioned. Granny squares, afghans, pot holders, doilies. Just the word ‘crochet’ conjures up a rocking chair, a pot of tea and an 8:00 bedtime. But not so fast…in 2012 the Huffington Post reported that the demise of crocheting and knitting is nowhere in sight. Their article, “Knitting is Cool: Twenty Somethings Taking Up Knitting, Crochet and the Trend Hasn’t Let Up”, describes how the fiber arts of yesteryear are making a starling comeback. Dozens of articles proclaim that crochet and knitting are soaring in popularity among celebrities, on college campuses and as a way to reduce stress. Move over granny, we’ve got our crochet hooks and we’re not afraid to use them.
And we’re not just sitting home crocheting in a rocking chair with a cup of tea until it’s 8:00 sharp and time for bed. In New York City alone, I counted dozens of groups gathering this week to knit and crochet, and Stitch ‘n Bitch sessions are wildly popular worldwide. Knitty City in New York has a crochet or knitting session nearly every night of the week including a Crochet Lab every Tuesday at noon and a Men’s Night every Wednesday from 6-8. And if you’re really hard core, there are hundreds of crochet and knitting cruises and getaway weekends; you can even go on the Wild and Wooly Knitting Tour of Ireland or to Florence, Italy for a four-day Get Hooked workshop.
There’s even a thing called “yarn bombing” where fiber artists literally cover a park bench, a car, a fence, whatever, with a yarn design. Think of it as yarn graffiti. And similar to graffiti artists, some yarn bombers seek to bring attention to social issues while others just yarn bomb for the pure aesthetic value of the colors and design. Like I said, move over granny.
Speaking of grandmothers, I must mention 104 year-old great-grandmother, Grace Brett, from Scotland. Grace and friends yarn bombed trees, park benches and phone booths during a recent three-city arts festival.
While I would love to do some yarn bombing of my own to spruce up the yard, my current obsession is a bit more manageable: crocheting children’s hats. I just keep cranking them out—they are quick, easy, colorful and it’s so darn satisfying to have a finished product in one sitting. “What are you going to do with that one?” my daughter asked after I finished #18. “Not sure,” I said as I threw it on the growing stack of hats.
Browsing through A.C. Moore one day to fuel my yarn obsession, I noticed a box of knitted and crocheted items to be donated to World Vision’s Knit For Kids program. World Vision collected 93,442 hand-made items in 2014 and distributed them to children in poverty around the globe. Their goal in 2015 is to collect and donate 100,000 items. So now I know what I’m going to do with the 20 hats I made!
After a bit more research, I discovered countless organizations that take donations of crocheted and knitted items. Lion Brand Yarn Studios at 35 W 15th St. in New York City has taken it a step further and has designated Warm Up America as their charity of choice this winter. They’ve designed their storefront window with a Princess and the Pea theme promoting Warm Up America’s donation program. Check out their gorgeous window designed by Juliet Hone.
Lion Brand Yarn Studios in New York City; window designed by Juliet Hone. Photo credit: lionbrandstudio.com
Crocheters and knitters are asked to create 7″ x 9″ squares to be joined together into full-sized blankets that are donated to shelters, hospitals, VA centers or wherever there’s a need. After seeing this, I’m taking a hiatus from making hats—-I’m already on square #3 for Warm Up America.
If you crochet or knit, consider making a hat, a scarf, mittens, whatever, and send them off to one of the worthwhile charities listed below. The warmth and coziness of a handmade item is a wonderful thing.
Check out these sites for knitwear donations…and send me photos of what you’ve made!
Halos of Hope: halosofhope.org Accepts donations of handmade hats for cancer patients who are going through treatment and are suffering from hair loss.
Project Linus projectlinus.org Provides the warmth and comfort of handmade blankets to children in distress such as those who are seriously ill, traumatized or in shelters.
Soldiers’ Angels soldiersangels.org This is a large organization that supports our armed forces and veterans as well as their families. They accept all kinds of handmade blankets, hats, scarves, mittens, etc.
Warm Up America warmupamerica.org Since 1991, Warm Up America has been donating handmade blankets to all kinds of organizations in need, including homeless shelters, women’s shelters, hospice care and senior centers.
World Vision worldvision.org World Vision’s Knit for Kids organization accepts donations of hand knit items for children around the world. A.C. Moore stores have drop-off boxes for donations.